It's been a while, so my answers are "to the best of my knowledge"
Two things have occured here that might relate to how this has happened...
1) I got PO'ed at Google for some of their political/social agenda lately so I wanted to try something else...I want a search engine not social commentary! I left Yahoo because their front page just became to confusing with all the pop ups and I couldn't find anything on their anymore. I went to ASK.com and loaded the tool bar... the big mistake happened when I answered yes to making it my "default search engine".
Many of the well intended folks who have told me to try to remove it as the default in IE have not read that I have tried this time and again. The problem with that is I am not given the option to remove it because it is labeled"unavailable" in that dialog box... I can't touch it.
2.) I went out to Microsft and downloaded IE 8.0, hoping that there would be an oportunity to take care of this with the upgrade... I was disapointed.
Now when I search with any search engine I get the search engine's page, but when I click on the link for that which I am searching I recieve the message "internet explorer cannot display the page" with the button labeled "diagnose connection problem". When you click on the "diagnose the connection problem" button the new page (the one that I wanted) comes up and you can close out of the diagnostic wizard. It is very strange!
This started happening at the same time I loaded the ASK Toolbar. Given that the bar won't go away and this deal, as described earlier, showed up at the same time I'm making th assumption that they are related.
Back to your questions...
The Yahoo toolbar is disabled
I use IE 99% of the time but I have Foxfire in case IE goes south on me.
I have all kinds of antivrus/malware stuff on my computer...
I run Zone Alarm pro as a firewall and to scan for viruses & spyware. I have Spyware Doctor installed because it picks up things that Zone Alarm misses but I keep it inactive... It really slows things down to run both... I also use Malwarebytes.
My wifes computer runs Spyware Doctor exclusively. I do not have Zone Alarm loaded on her machine. I wanted to compare them...
I believe that answers your questions, and updates you on what I have observed lately.
Edited by Uncas, 13 January 2010 - 02:57 PM.